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Perfecting God’s Gifts

By December 17, 2016 Articles

The birth of Jesus is not just Christmas card fodder. Each and every part of His story is relevant now, and will be forever.

Relevancy is good news! It means angels are still relevant; aren’t you glad? Obedience is relevant. It paid off for Joseph and Mary and will for us today. Divine protection is relevant. It couldn’t have been any more desirable then than in the world we live in today. Divine provision is certainly relevant! Who couldn’t use a camel-load in their time of need?

While the angels tend to get top billing surrounding the birth of Jesus, the prophets really should be hailed as the most valuable players.

When you think about the birth of the Savior, what prophets do you think of?

Most Christians recall the prophecies given by Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, and maybe even Simeon and the prophetess, Anna, who both recognized Jesus to be the Savior and spoke openly to others, proclaiming that He was. Then there is the prophecy spoken through Isaiah declaring, “A virgin shall…bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel…. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…” (Isaiah 7:14, 9:6).

The truth is, every Old Testament prophet prophesied of Jesus—not only His birth, but every detail of His life.

Matthew 1:22, The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, says, “All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet.” Fifteen more times, Matthew says “that it might be fulfilled.”

They spoke the Word of God that Jesus based every action of His ministry on. Furthermore, Jesus is the Word made flesh, right? What word? The Word spoken by the prophets!

Could it be that the ministry of the prophet is relevant for us today? Some say, “No, that’s passed away.” Others disagree, but don’t really know how it is relevant and how to use their faith for this glorious ministry gift. Let’s explore.

 

The Gifts Still Remain

First, let’s establish that prophets did not disappear after the 12 Apostles went to heaven. They didn’t end an era, they began one! Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” (New King James Version).

Who gave these gifts? Jesus.

Can we find any scriptural indication He has withdrawn those gifts? No.

Has the work of ministry assigned to the Church come to an end? No. If not, then why would He withdraw the gift He gave to equip us for that task?

Does the Body of Christ still need to be edified? Of course it does. We obviously have not yet come to the unity of the faith, so the tools Jesus placed in the Body to meet that assignment are still needed.

The next four verses go on to list the purpose for the five ministry gifts afore mentioned, including the prophet. These gifts are given to bring the whole Body unto a perfect (or mature) man measuring up to the full stature of Jesus and His Anointing. Ephesians continues to explain we are to grow past spiritual childhood and not be tossed to and fro. We are to be unaffected by men’s doctrines, firmly established in the Word, led by the Spirit, speaking only truth and always in love. Are we there yet? It would not appear so. Clearly, we need everything the Lord has provided for His bride so that we may become the glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27).

Some say that all this is a work of the Spirit, not men.

Everything good is a work of the Spirit, but not without men. God has chosen to work on behalf of men by most often working through them. Isn’t that the story of the Cross, that God became man so He could work the work of Redemption through a man?

Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest prophet under the Old Covenant. That was true because of the assignment he carried—he was to prepare the way of the Lord. Luke 3 and Matthew 3 show him carrying out that mission. His message brought revelation (an enlightened awareness) of the kingdom of God and a call for repentance so the people could embrace it.

The Scriptures mention that John had the attention of the religious, political, economic and military leaders, as well as the general population. God gave him an open door to speak not only into their individual lives but into the realms they represented. You do realize there is a political realm, economic realm, religious realm, etc. Men can get so caught up in their own way of thinking and doing that without God’s intervention they will destroy themselves. And how does He change those realms? By His Word spoken through the lips of men, specifically through the ministry of prophets.

Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (NKJV). Does the kingdom of God need to be revealed to people today? Certainly.

Do each of these realms need to be awakened out of their self-dependent, destructive ways to the Lord? The sooner, the better!

 

The Anointed Prophet

John prepared the way of the Lord. Is the Lord coming again? Yes, and very soon!

Then prophets are needed today. This doesn’t mean the Kingdom relies solely on the prophet’s ministry. Unlike the Old Testament where the anointing rested on the king, the priests and the prophets, the anointing is on the whole Body of Christ. We all have responsibility and authority in the Kingdom. But the anointing on the prophet is like a weapon the Lord releases to cause change. When the prophet speaks, his words become the voice of the Lord in the earth. Psalm 29 reveals the voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty, it destroys long-standing obstacles, and releases judgment; it makes way for the glory and gives His people strength, blessing them with peace.

No wonder Paul so often asked the saints to pray for him that he would have a free flow of divine utterance. He knew his words, ordained and anointed of God, would not only affect each person who heard them, but alter the spiritual condition of every realm known to man—and angels (1 Corinthians 2:6). All this is only one aspect of the prophet’s ministry. Such a powerful spiritual weapon surely garners satanic opposition! The Bible tells of the pressure, and even horrible persecution, many of the prophets suffered. That same spirit tries to stop God’s voice to us today, but the prayers of covenant people, who hunger for this and all the ministry gifts to fully function, halt the effect of demon influence.

The Lord knows how to perfect the saints! He knows it will take all the ministry gifts—apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher—to get the job done. When, as 1 Corinthians 12:31 (AMPC) instructs, we desire, cultivate, love and pray for those ministry gifts among us, the kingdom of God will be magnified and His glory will fill the earth! The hidden things of God “are created now [called into being by the prophetic word]” (Isaiah 48:7, AMPC).

by Terri Copeland Pearsons